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Thread: Need to learn how to make a sign

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    14

    Default Need to learn how to make a sign

    I have a prs alpha and a couple of vbits - but have never made a sign. Friend of mine is starting a new business and mentioned that he was going to have to come up with signage. I owe him some favors so would love to be able to make him a sign.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? I have worked with mdf, Sintra (celtec) but have never worked with HDU (but would like to at some point)

    i have vectric vcarve pro and fusion 360 which i am still learning on the 3d side of things

    Any insights would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pennsauken, NJ
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Drumguy

    I've been making/installing signs for almost 50 years. The first thing your friend needs to do it contact the local township zoning/building department. Believe it or not, signs are often highly regulated and you almost always need a permit. The town will give you specifics on the size of the sign and sometimes dictate the type of sign allowed. Depending on the town, you will probably need at least a zoning permit and usually a building permit as well. It can be a royal PIA or a simple process, depending on the local rules. In recent years, most towns in my area require sealed mounting plans from an engineer. IMO it's a pure case of CYA because they don't want to accept responsibility for approving anything that might fall down and cause damage. i could go on and on because we get sign permits on an almost daily basis. There is a lot of variation from town to town on the rules.

    HDU is a great material for a sign, even if it's expensive. it's stable and the makers claim it doesn't even need paint to protect it from the weather. Of course you would paint it and it takes just about any decent paint. Go for exterior finishes obv. It doesn't hold screws as well as something like MDO so you have to account for the mounting. Sintra is also good but we always paint it even if it's the color we want. Over time, the white turns a bit yellow, etc. And thinner PVC gets brittle in very cold weather. You can't go wrong with MDO but it needs to be finished properly to last outdoors. You can even make letters out of MDO but ask here for the best bits/feeds. While i've been making signs for a long time (mostly electrical) I'm fairly new to having my own CNC machine (used ot outsource this) so others can give you better insight on the actual routing.

    Decide on what kind of sign your friend wants and then come back for more info. Ask ten sign makers how to make a particular sign and you'll get fifty different answers depending on the location, mounting height, etc. Does your friend want something to go on the wall outside, on poles out by the road, in a lobby, etc. All that will tell how to best make the sign.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Memphis TN
    Posts
    984

    Default

    >> The first thing your friend needs to do it contact the local township zoning/building department.

    An organization that I volunteered with asked if I could make a sign for them as they had nothing but a crude sign leaning against their fence. I thought it would be fun until I found out about the details regarding actually installing a sign. It seems making the sign is the easy part. Getting it to pass code and signage regulations is the hard part. After flailing around for a couple of weeks, I gave up. Best to leave that stuff to the professionals.
    ShopBot Details:
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pennsauken, NJ
    Posts
    35

    Default

    "Getting it to pass code and signage regulations is the hard part. After flailing around for a couple of weeks, I gave up. Best to leave that stuff to the professionals."

    Getting sign permits (an almost daily thing for me) is probably the reason why I have very little hair left. I've been pulling it out in bunches for decades! And that's why I charge by the hour for permit acquisition. However, even I hire a permit expediter in places like Philadelphia. That city is such a quagemire of conflicting rules and regs that even the city employees don't understand it all.

    Coryatjohn, you could have always just made the sign and left it at the organizations doorstep. "Hey Ma! Look what I found!"

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